Saturday, 14 August 2010

Explaining Murder: Israeli Hasbara in Full Swing

Via Silver Lining
Posted on August 14, 2010 by realistic bird

from Al
by Richard Lightbown, source

The hasbara industry is in full swing at the moment as Benjamin Netanyahu’s government pulls out all the stops to create a smokescreen to cover its crimes.  Leading from the front Mr Netanyahu sat in front of the Turkel Commission for four hours on Monday, although anyone hoping to hear anything of interest would have been disappointed. Mr Netanyahu only spoke in front of the public for ninety minutes of that time during which he regaled the committee with complaints about Hamas, Sderot and Gilad Shalit.

He told the committee that Israel had a right to search for weapons on board the flotilla. (Israel has since announced that it found no weapons for Hamas. Did nine people really have to die so that Israel could confirm the certification the flotilla already had?) He further told them that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza as a result of the blockade it was just a ‘bogus rationale […] to break the blockade’. So there we are. The International Committee of the Red Cross was lying on 14 June when it said:
“The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligation under international humanitarian law.”

Or when in 2008 the same august institution said 70% of the Gazan population suffers from food insecurity.  

That Judge Turkel allowed him to drone on in this way bodes ill for the end result. As though nine dead (and it could yet turn to eleven), fifty-five injured and the rest of the 700 people abducted, abused, humiliated and subjected to cruel and sadistic behaviour was not important enough for the committee to concentrate on.
But that as always is the name of the game. Only Israeli victim hood is of any consequence. Nine Israeli hoods got a legal beating. That’s important. Nothing else matters. So we’ve had Prof Ruth Lapidoth prostituting herself on 12 July by cherry picking the San Remo Manual to make it all seem right. She told us Gaza is a state because the Israel Supreme Court said so. Does she recognize no higher authority on international law? The was no mention of course that San Remo takes six articles to explain that any maritime attack should be solely against military targets for the purpose of gaining a military advantage. That precautions must be taken to ensure that civilians are not harmed. That merchant vessels are civilian objects.

That vessels engaged in humanitarian missions are exempt from attack. Article 102 states absolutely, that a blockade is prohibited if the damage to the civilian population is excessive in relation to the military advantage of the blockade. Article 103 allows the right of passage, subject to search (but not murder) if the civilian population is inadequately provided with food and other objects essential for its survival. Article 119 declares that a neutral merchant vessel may be diverted ‘with its consent’. Article 124 encourages certification (exactly as the flotilla had done) to avoid the necessity for visit and search. None of this gets a mention in the professor’s assessment. Mr Netanyahu behaves as though it does not exist.

President Obama of course is in on the scam too. Refusing to condemn Israel on 31 May until he knew the facts, he is now doing his best to see that they are not revealed. Thus the UN Human Rights Commission’s Fact Finding Mission is now deemed surplus to requirements. Never mind that it is chaired by a judge who served on the International Criminal Court, or that it includes the former Chief Prosecutor of the UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, who has extensive experience on human rights, war crimes and terrorism. This is a committee eminently qualified to investigate the facts so it is being sidelined and told it is irrelevant by Susan Rice, who was speaking as though she owned the United Nations. Just for the record China and Russia voted for this commission, France and Britain abstained, and the other permanent member of the Security Council, without a veto at the UNHRC, could only vote against. The late Charles Wheeler, a redoubtable BBC journalist, once observed that American presidents get worse and worse. Sadly we don’t seem to have reached the nadir yet.

So what is the invertebrate in the White House trying to palm us off with instead? A committee chaired by a law professor who was prime minister of New Zealand for thirteen months, and representative to the International Whaling Commission. Alongside him will be a man whose period of rule in Columbia was strongly criticised for its abuses of human rights, democracy and the rule of law; and whose main arms supplier was the state of Israel. This Panel will receive reports from Israel and Turkey. But it will not be able to subpoena witnesses (and Mr Netanyahu has made it clear that it will not be able to subpoena anyone from the IDF). Neither will it venture out of New York (to go to Iskenderun for example to look over the three Turkish ships that have been released).

So we must hope that Sir Geoffrey Palmer is his own man, and that he is a man of courage and imagination. We must hope that he is a man able to appreciate that it was not self defence to shoot Cevdet Kiliclar through the forehead from a helicopter before a single Israeli had even started to descend from a helicopter or disembark from a zodiac. (Mr Kiliclar was taking a photograph at the time of his assassination.) Let us hope that Sir Geoffrey will ask for proof of the Israeli allegation that their commandos were shot at, and that he will wonder why the infra red footage from the helicopters have not picked up the flashes from the passenger’s guns. Come to that why have we seen so little of the enormous amount of footage that Israel stole from press and passengers on the flotilla?

But even the Israeli film footage provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be quite revealing. Take a look at the arms cache that Israel made such a fuss about. I have counted the following:
• about 16 kitchen knives,
• three pocket knives,
• fifteen pickaxe handles,
• about twenty lengths of metal bar,
• two ring spanners,
• one pipe wrench,
• four small hammers,
• two sledge hammers,
• four fire axes,
• one paint roller handle,
• ten disc-cutter discs,
• two round files in handles,
• a short length of cord and
• two kaffiyehs.
(There was no blood on any of these ‘weapons’.) This is hardly the equipment prepared by a well-organized terrorist cell that had readied itself to face one of the elite units in the Israel Defence Forces.
Also take a close look at the Israeli infrared film taken from the sea towards the Mavi Marmara.  The film unfortunately starts after Mr Kiliclar has been shot dead and other passengers have also been injured and maybe killed. Look close and you can see the pistols being thrown over the side after the commandos are disarmed. Look closely too at the last frame of the infrared footage. There at the side of the ship is a commando with a pistol raised ready to fire. Mostly likely this is a Glock pistol with a magazine holding 17 rounds which can be fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled. Now do you understand why the film stops there? The next sequence shows a small bottle of mace-like self-defence spray, and then a small folding saw with a single 5cm long blade. Yet look behind this primitive weaponry and there inside the door to the bridge lounges a commando with what looks like a submachine gun.
The Israeli military said it would do whatever was necessary to stop the flotilla. When it got to the Mavi Marmara the commandos first tried to board at the stern from zodiacs. They were unable to do this principally because of the fire hoses trained on them, although there were a lot of things like plates and tomatoes thrown at them too. In fact they never did board the ship from this point until after the bridge had been taken and the ship surrendered. The next move, almost certainly with the full authority of Admiral Marom, was to fire live ammunition onto the upper decks from more than one of the four helicopters, and this was probably sniper fire to begin with. Only then did the commandos start to fast rope onto the deck. But even then the defence did not crumble and the first rope was tied up by the defenders and then abandoned so that the commandos only used one rope and were picked off as they came down. It looks pretty brutal on the film (which is why we are allowed to see it). But if they did not disable those commandos quickly the men on that upper deck were going to get shot, and shortly afterwards this is exactly what happened. However it was a close thing. Perhaps if they had tied up both ropes they may have prevented the landing. And then what: what was Israel’s next line of attack, bearing in mind that they had warships and submarines in the near vicinity? If the boarding had failed would the IDF have sunk the ship? One thing is for sure, that would have took a lot of ingenuity for Mr Netanyahu and Prof Lapidoth to explain. It would have needed a lot of excuses from Mr Obama too.
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Preliminary Information: Fatah Al-Islam 'Prince' Killed

Preliminary Information: Fatah Al-Islam 'Prince' Killed

14/08/2010 Preliminary information said that Fatah al-Islam 'prince' Abdul Rahman Awad was killed Saturday during a chase with security forces in the town of Chtaura.

According to the official National News Agency (NNA), two Palestinians wanted on terrorism and forgery charges were killed during the chase while a third suspect managed to flee the scene.

The chase began when security forces that had been monitoring the activity of the suspects followed their exit from the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp until their arrival at Chtaura's town square where they were called to halt by an army patrol.

The suspects responded by firing at the patrol and the chase ensued.

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Ashton: Abbas will start direct talks with Israelis soon

[ 14/08/2010 - 11:56 AM ]

BRUSSELS, (PIC)-- Catherine Ashton, the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs, affirmed in a letter that Mahmoud Abbas would accept direct talks with Israel and would give a definitive answer in this regard by Sunday or next week.

"Abbas is very close to agreeing to direct talks with Israel," Ashton said in a letter to foreign ministers revealed by different media sources.

"Abbas has requested a few more days for final consultations with Arab partners as well as with the Fatah and PLO executive bodies,” she wrote, pointing out that his talks with Israelis would kick off in late August

The European official also said that a statement would be issued by the international quartet earlier next week if both parties agreed to proceed to direct talks.

She claimed that the quartet's statement would demand Israel to halt all settlement activities in the West Bank and east occupied Jerusalem, and reach a full peace agreement with the Palestinians within 24 months on the basis of 1967 borders.

Abbas had vowed not to resume any kind of negotiations with Israel unless it freezes construction in settlements, but he changed his mind and engaged in indirect talks before declaring his intention recently to sit side by side with Israelis at the negotiations table.

In another incident, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday that a number of Palestinian citizens in Ramallah city were surprised on the first night of Ramadan to see the Palestinians Authority's security men walking together with Israeli soldiers in the city.

It added that security meetings took place in the city and were attended by head of Israel's central command Avi Mizrahi, and senior Israeli officers Nizan Alon and Yoav Mordechai.

The newspaper stressed that there are warm relations and extraordinary cooperation between the Israeli army and the PA security apparatuses in the West Bank, pointing out that this partnership foiled a number of resistance operations against Israel.

Many West Bank citizens, who wanted to cross into Jerusalem for Friday prayers, were also shocked to see for the first time yesterday joint Palestinian-Israeli security presence at Qalandia checkpoint that separates Ramallah from the holy city.

Eyewitness told the reporter of the Palestinian information center (PIC) that members of Abbas's security apparatuses were seen standing at the entrance to the checkpoint, while Israeli soldiers were seen in their usual positions inside the terminal.

They said that the job of Abbas's security men was to organize the flow of Palestinians into the terminal and search them and the Israeli soldiers, for their part, were allowing whoever they want to cross the checkpoint.

Palestinian Authority May Agree to Talks in 2 Days: Report

14/08/2010 Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to agree to the resumption of direct talks with the Zionist entity within as little as two days, Israel Radio relayed on Saturday citing a report by Arabic newspaper A-Sharq al-Awsat.

Abbas is waiting for an anticipated statement from the Quartet to be released early next week before he will announce any decision on talks, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported on Friday.

Abbas may agree to direct talks next week if Israel agrees to pre-1967 borders, according to a letter found by Reuters on Thursday.

The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton reportedly said in the letter that Abbas would release a statement as early as next week, if both parties agreed to direct talks. Negotiations would begin before the end of the month.

"In principle, President Abbas should be in a position to give a definite answer by Sunday or early next week," Ashton wrote. "Abbas is very close" to proceeding to direct talks.

The so-called “Quartet” "should help President Abbas rally enough support, both at home and abroad, to engage in direct talks," Ashton reportedly added.

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UAE 'Concerned' at German Release of Israeli Murder Suspect

14/08/2010 The United Arab Emirates is concerned over Germany's release of an alleged Israeli agent suspected of links to the January killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.

Abdurahim al-Awadhi, assistant to the foreign minister for legal affairs, expressed "concern that Uri Brodsky has been released on bail and granted the freedom to return to the occupied territories while the case against him continues," in a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.

A German court on Friday released on bail the Israeli agent suspected of links to the killing of Mahmud al-Mabhuh, a leader of the military wing of the Palestinian Resistance movement Hamas.

The Gulf country's foreign ministry "sought clarification today (Saturday) from the German government on the Brodsky case," according to the statement.

Awadhi said that his country "seeks assurances that Brodsky is in no way connected to the murder of Mahmud al-Mabhuh."

"As this may relate to a serious crime committed in Dubai, the UAE expects full and close cooperation from the German authorities and will continue to pursue the matter through diplomatic channels," the foreign ministry said.

Polish authorities arrested Brodsky in June at Warsaw airport before extraditing him to Germany on Thursday on suspicion of illegally obtaining a German passport under the name Michael Bodenheimer that was later found to have been used by a member of the hit squad which killed Mabhuh.

The squad which Dubai police believe was from Israel's spy agency Mossad was found to have used 26 doctored foreign passports, sparking a diplomatic rumpus not only with Germany but also with Australia, Britain, France and Ireland.

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Turkey did not invite Israeli ambassador to break fast with foreign ambassadors

[ 14/08/2010 - 11:48 AM ]

ANKARA, (PIC)-- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed that his country will maintain its policy of rapprochement with Mideast nations. “It is intended for us when we look towards the West to turn our backs on the East, and no one has the right to expect this from us,” the premier said.

This came during the fourth annual banquet to break fast in Ramadan hosted by the Justice and Development (AK) Party for politicians, clergy of various denominations, and foreign ambassadors. But this year saw a change when Turkey declined to invite the Israeli ambassador in Ankara, Gabby Levy.

Erdogan said during a speech that Ankara did not “change its axis”, adding that membership in the European Union is a strategic goal and state policy for Turkey, and the current Turkish government advances toward all steps to achieve this historic, strategic objective.

On Turkey’s Eastern policy, Erdogan said: “We want to reach all nations, and no one should be worried about that. We are a global state, and not a tribal state. We have a comprehensive, multifaceted policy, and not a one-dimensional policy.”

On the Palestinian issue, he said: “Turkey will continue to make efforts for a just, constructive, comprehensive solution to the Palestine issue.”

Turning to the Israeli assault on the Marmara ship, he said: “Israel has to recognize its mistake, and apologize and pay compensation, and we will continue to pursue the matter until our demands are met.”

On his behalf, chairman of the AK Party’s foreign relations committee, Ömer Çelik, said: “The reason for not inviting the Israeli ambassador is not on a personal level,” adding that he was not invited to show Turkey’s position condemning the assaults by the Israeli government on the Marmara ship.

He added that “anyone who is unjust or inequitable can not pass the threshold of the Justice and Development party’s headquarters.”

He went on to say that the friendly event, which included Jews, Catholics, and Muslims, “is a symbolic message to the Israeli ambassador.”

The chief rabbi of Turkey Isaac Haliva and the chief of the Jewish community in Turkey, Sami Herman, were among those invited to the event.

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Hamdan: Releasing the Mossad agent a political collusion

[ 14/08/2010 - 12:05 PM ]

BEIRUT, (PIC)-- Osama Hamdan, the head of international relations in Hamas, has charged that the release of the Mossad agent Uri Brodsky, a suspect in the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, constituted a political cover for the crime.

Hamdan told Al-Jazeera TV network on Friday that the German court's decision was political par excellence, adding that the German court had thus recorded a precedent of releasing a suspect wanted in an international terror crime and premeditated murder.

He said that releasing Brodsky would allow him to travel to Israel where the issue would be a clear political collusion to cover up for the murder of Mabhouh.

Hamdan affirmed that his movement would not give up the case and would continue to follow it up legally, noting that European human rights groups had expressed readiness to support Hamas and the deceased's family in this issue.

Germany releases suspect in Mabhouh slaying on bail

[ 14/08/2010 - 08:43 AM ]

BERLIN, (PIC)-- German prosecutors Friday let out on bail Mossad agent Uri Brodsky, a suspect in the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai eight months ago.

Brodsky appeared before a court in Cologne, West Germany, which decided to free him after setting “a suitable bail”, a spokesman for the prosecution said, adding that the court of first instance and the prosecution agreed to indict him for fabricating an official document.

The suspect was extradited to Germany from Poland, where he was arrested June 4 in the Warsaw airport after a warrant for his arrest was issued by Berlin on suspicion of involvement in obtaining a forged German passport and espionage.

Experts say he will be tried only for counterfeiting a passport, a charge which if convicted incurs a punishment of fines and three years in prison.

International criminal law expert Kay Petarz told the French press agency (AFP) that Brodsky cannot be prosecuted in Germany on charges he was not handed over for from Poland, which is falsifying documents.

The case was taken by Cologne prosecution because the counterfeit passport was procured in the city.

According to the German Der Spiegel newspaper, the Mossad agent is accused of taking part in the murder of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was found dead Jan. 20 in a hotel in Dubai.

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Gaza: Swimming Against the Tide

Gaza: Palestinian Swimmers Aim To Make Olympic Dream Come True - Sky News Video Player:

"Aug 8, 2010
Swimming Against the Tide

Tim Marshall reports on the battles facing a group of Palestinian athletes in Gaza who are trying to make their Olympic dreams come true.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Palestine Video - A Palestine Vlog

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Shari'ah court head, Jerusalemite figures visit Ma'manullah cemetery

[ 14/08/2010 - 08:58 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Head of the high Shari'ah court of appeal Ahmed Natour along with other Jerusalemite figures visited the Islamic cemetery of Ma'manullah and witnessed the size of destruction that happened to it after the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) razed more of its graves.

During the visiton Thursday, Natour condemned Israel's violations in the cemetery as an indescribable barbaric act, and pointed out that his court issued a number of fatwas (edicts) which confirmed the sanctity and inviolability of Muslim graves.

He emphasized that Ma'manullah cemetery is a sacred and historical landmark that refers to the Arab and Islamic existence and thus should be protected by all means. He also vowed to work on confronting Israeli violations against the cemetery and re-build its graves again.

The cemetery is the largest in Palestine; there are graves of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) there.

The IOA recently disinterred hundreds of graves in this cemetery for the construction of the controversial museum of tolerance. The planned building is to be financed by the Simon Wiesenthal center, a US-based Zionist group.

Ever since its establishment on usupred Palestinian land more than 62 years ago, Israel started to desecrate Muslim burials in Palestine, exposing and destroying graves, and building parks, museums, hotels, bars, schools and parking lots in their places.

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Well, well, looks like Obama might get that big pre-election boost after all. You know his ratings are in the tank, the economy is shite and he needs a big-ass Obama miracle, and quickly! He's got to start running his re-election campaign very soon as the teabaggers are arming themselves and the neocons and Repugs are nipping at his ankles. He needs a serious popularity boost, some headlines filled with praise and worship to confirm he IS the the world's hero. Hmmmm what can he do, wave a magic O-wand and repair the world banking crisis and US debt, create immediate jobs for all those Americans, end the two useless wars. No, the "Big O" is looking elsewhere for his "miracle" and me thinks it has something to do with that "Nobel Peace Prize" joke, awarded to him for "future" achievements.

Flashback to July, remember this little ditty?
1. U.S. warns Abbas: Direct talks or lose backing for state.

2. An Arab League subcommittee on the Arab peace initiative is expected to support the Palestinian position of continued indirect negotiations with Israel, and not a move toward direct talks.

3.The PA has asked the monitoring committee to recommend allowing the U.S. shuttle diplomacy between Ramallah and Jerusalem run its course until September (Check those calendars, it's almost September folks!)and then consider the PA's future moves.
So there I was checking up on the news regarding the evil rogue state today, and at first glance of reading the "Malarkey" below, thought I found the tooth fairy and Santa Claus instead, BUT, then Satan emerged!! What am I talking about? THIS:
London-based al-Hayat newspaper quotes Ramallah sources as saying prime minister (Netanyahu) has prepared plan for evacuation of 50,000 settlers.
Yeah, I hear you laughing, tooth fairy right? Wrong, now it gets serious there's more, and pay close attention to the part I have made "bold"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has prepared a "tempting" plan to be presented to the Palestinians in the direct negotiations, as part of which Israel will offer to withdraw from up to 90% of the West Bank, excluding east Jerusalem, the London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Friday.
Listen, can you hear that sound? That's the Whooosh of East Jerusalem going to Israel. And...............this nasty deal won't even be a final one, just merely a wee "agreement" not a "Final Peace Agreement" So the evil rogue state can come back at any time and re-populate all those 50,000 settlers right back into their former homes on Palestinian land. Because, after all, it's only a "temporary" agreement to confiscate the whole of Jerusalem. There's more:
"knowledgeable sources" in Ramallah as saying that the prime minister's plan will be in the form of a new interim agreement, similar to the 1993 Oslo Accords. According to the sources, Netanyahu informed the Western delegates he met with recently that the current situation was not right for reaching a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and that he planned to present a proposal for a new interim agreement, which would be "extensive and tempting" to the Palestinians.
And what about that "Arab League subcommittee" mentioned earlier who were backing Abbas to "not" have talks with Israel? Well Catherine Ashton, the US Quartet member is all over this one:
link Abbas "has requested a few more days for final consultations with Arab partners as well as with the Fatah and PLO executive bodies," Ashton wrote, and "should be in a position to give a definitive answer by Sunday or early next week."
And lastly, what's the plan Stan?
One of the ideas raised by Netanyahu's associates, the sources said, was coming up with a formula linking the future Palestinian state with its temporary borders to Jordan.
And there you have it, Wa Laa, in one fell swoop you have Obama's big-ass miracle and re-election gift, the "future" nobel peace prize thingie, and Isarel is all happy with stealing the whole of Jerusalem, and poor Palestine gets the shaft again. Nakba #2 begins.

Posted by I4P Writers Group at 1:24 PM  

'How a War with Iran Would Diminish American Power'

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

The Compass:

But the emphasis on the existential threat to Israel ignores a more basic issue for Americans to ponder: a nuclear-armed Iran represents a dagger at the heart of America and an existential threat to our status as a superpower and guarantor of the West’s security....
I would argue that any obligation to present an explanation lies with those whose disastrous policy prescriptions with respect to Iraq lead America into the worst strategic blunder in the country's recent history. That aside, note the blind faith in the power of the military to actually achieve its ends. The recent history in Lebanon is instructive on this point: Israel attacked Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 with an eye toward seriously degrading the group's ability to endanger Israel. And it worked - for a bit. Now, in 2010, Hezbollah is reportedly even better armed than before the war began. And this is a group that relies on outside aid crossing international borders to resupply itself. It can't call on vast oil reserves or the full resources that a state can muster.
Now imagine bombing Iran's nuclear facilities. At best, as with Hezbollah in Lebanon, a wide-ranging attack on Iran would delay its acquisition of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. But it would surely impress upon Iran the need to redouble its efforts to actually "weaponize" its nuclear program and not merely have the ability to do so when it wants. What's more, any hope that Iran's citizens would look approvingly at the West when they eventually slough off the clerical regime would presumably take a severe hit. We would deal America's long-term prospects with Iran and the Iranian people a damaging blow and still have failed to achieve the ends we desired.
But Rubin makes a more sweeping point, that the U.S. must fight a war to maintain its imperial vanity:
And then there is the broader issue of America’s standing as the sole superpower and the defender of the Free World. Should the “unacceptable” become reality, the notion that America stands between free peoples and despots and provides an umbrella of security for itself and its allies will vanish, just as surely as will the Zionist ideal.
I can't speak for the Zionist ideal, but the concern about America's standing as a sole superpower strikes me as a terrible casus belli. First, it's simply wrong. China, India and Pakistan went nuclear, and America didn't tumble from its superpower perch. Whether or not Iran has one or two crude nuclear bombs has next to no bearing on America's superpower status relative to questions about the health of the American economy.
The second, more fundamental, problem with Rubin's analysis is that a war with Iran would actually accelerate America's fall from super power status. The war with Iraq dealt American power and strategic position a huge blow, with costs that vastly outstripped the gains, but a war with Iran could potentially deal an even greater jolt.
The major failure of the war against Iraq was the inability to articulate - let alone achieve - specific political goals for the post-war environment. We knew we wanted Saddam gone but we didn't know what would take his place or how we'd get from point A to B in post war Iraq. So it is with Iran...... one should be expected to learn from their mistakes, not ignore them.
The U.S. military may know how to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, but it has demonstrated in two successive military conflicts that it cannot manage the post-war aftermath, let alone put in place political institutions that will serve America's needs ....."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 4:22 AM

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Hamdouna: occupation provides meal seven hours before dusk

Hamdouna: occupation provides meal seven hours before dusk

[ 13/08/2010 - 03:45 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Ex-captive Rafat Hamdouna, director of Captives Studies Centre, said that the Israeli occupation prison authority refuses to provide the main meal at sunset, which is the time Muslims break their fast, and denies them performing night prayers in a congregation.

Hamdouna said in a statement on Friday that the Israeli occupation prison authority does not care about the basic needs of the captives during the blessed month of Ramadan and prohibits congregational night prayers even for individual sections.

He said that the prison authority provides a light meal consisting of eggs, jam and cheese while the main meal is served at noon, 7 hours before it is time to break the fast.

Hamdouna added that the situation of the captives is especially harsh in Ramadan and particularly for those who are denied family visits such as captives from the Gaza Strip who have not been visited by their families for more than four years.

He called on all activists and institutions in this field to work towards improving the conditions of the Palestinian captives in occupation jails.

Meanwhile, a statement by the same institution on Friday focused on the special suffering of Palestinian women captives in Israeli occupation jails, especially those who have children and are denied contact with them.

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Israel response to convoy attack 'typical'

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 16:10:34 GMT

Ramzi Baroud

Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American journalist and the acclaimed author of books such as My Father Was a Freedom Fighter. Professor Noam Chomsky has lauded his analytical and researching skills as well as his insight into the region, especially as the Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Chronicle.

The following is the transcription of a Press TV phone interview with Baroud:

Press TV: Thank you Mr. Baroud for joining us. Israeli army chief Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi said today that IDF soldiers were justified in shooting nine activists onboard the Turkish flagship of the Freedom Flotilla. He even commended them for showing restraint and morality. What is your take on the matter?

Baroud: Well this is very much a typical Israeli response to any sort of atrocity that they commit. In fact, if you go back to recent history, after the massacre in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank in 2002, this is in fact exactly what they said.

In fact, it was Ashkenazi himself who said that we behaved as the most moral army in the world. After the massacre of civilians in Gaza, this is the term that they also used, with the exact terminology. So it is pretty much predictable, you can always be assured that Israelis are going to commit crimes and that that they will always investigate their crimes, to say that we are a democracy and we do investigate our own actions.

And they always absolve themselves, and they are always behaving morally. So there is absolutely nothing surprising about this whatsoever.

The antagonizing part is that they get away with murder and they get away with that explanation all the time and there is very little that the international community is doing in response.

Press TV: Why isn't the international community ever pushing for more action. Why don't they conduct their own investigations or at least have one representative?

Baroud: In order for a murderer to get away with murder, two things would have to be achieved. First of all the murderer must have absolutely no remorse whatsoever and he has to be very adamant in carrying on with his crime. But the other component, that is very important, is that the international community -- even if there is a will to actually punish Israel for its war crimes - is stopped by the United States.

The Arabs are fragmented and Muslim countries around the world do not have the kind of political leverage that they could manipulate, which they could if they wanted to but they lack the unity and they lack the platform and they lack the political will to in fact translate their solidarity with the Palestinians to any serious actions.

So what ends up happening is that there is always a lot of fury and anger. There are lots of lawyers out there who come and champion the cause and speak of human rights and they quote international law, but at the end of the day, we are always going to hit the same wall.

The problem is the US support of Israel and Israel's adamancy in repeating the same crimes, and the lack of any meaningful platform to actually punish Israel for its crimes.

And until there is a paradigm shift, this same scenario is going to be repeated over and over again.

Press TV: There is also the Israeli side. Two videos are circulating on Youtube; one of them shows four people, four people seemingly activists as it is shot from above, waving their impromptu self-defense gear--wooden and metal bars-- while a group of armed Israeli navy commandos are trying to board the ship.

And in the second one, we see two IDF soldiers beating someone and then shooting them execution-style, fatal shots. Can Israel justify that its soldiers did not use excessive force when the soldiers clearly chose to kill rather than detain?

Baroud: Before we even discuss Israeli justification over using excessive force or not using force at all, there is one question that precedes that question.

And that is: did Israel even have the right in the first place to interfere in the work of activists who are in international waters carrying cement and medicine and wheelchairs to a besieged nation in the Gaza Strip.

There is absolutely no justification for that in the first place. So I feel like if we enter into this kind of foray of trying to explain or understand or even sympathize with Israeli claims or the activists' response, I think we sort of enter into the kind of dilemma that Israel has created out of nothing.

There is actually no dilemma there. Israel should have never interfered in the work of those peace activists in the first place.

Now, whether they used excessive force, I think that the term "excessive force" is also tricky, because if we say that Israel had no right to use excessive force, it is as we are saying that Israel had the right to use force but not in an excessive degree. And I do not think Israel should have been there in the first place, regardless of what they have been saying ever since.

Press TV:But some people are arguing that the ship intended to go to Gaza to break the blockade. But people are saying that Israel supposedly has a right to have stopped the ship?

Baroud: Again we enter into the legal element here; the element of preemption. If you are walking in the street and you see someone who appears suspicious from your point of view do you have the right to attack that person? This is the same issue.

Because we were on the way there, therefore we have the right to...Well we could expand this argument even further. Do they have the right to, say, attack Irish activists in Dublin who are intending to go to Gaza or are thinking of or discussing the possibility of going to Gaza? Based on Israeli preemption rationale, Mossad agents have the right to go and start hitting these activists left and right all over the world, violating international law.

Even then, those activists were not in the process of violating…entering Israeli territorial waters. Absolutely not. They were on their way to Gaza, and the Gazan government, which is democratically elected by the Palestinian people, was really welcoming and ready for these activists to enter into Gaza waters.

Therefore, even based on the preemption logic, also has no right to interfere in the work of these activists.

Press TV: You covered my next question on the issue of the international waters. So Israel seems to be getting away with murder once again with this justification.

Baroud: There is only one way of not allowing Israel to get away with murder, and that is that for us as civil societies and people of conscience around the world not to allow Israel to intimidate us.

Israel will only get away with murder, if we say there is nothing we can do about it; we have tried and we have failed, and several activists got killed. But Israel will lose the moment we carry on with our campaign so the siege on Gaza is broken.

This is the only way that we can prevent this dreadful scenario of Israel getting away with murder from actually happening.

Press TV: Could an international committee be set up which could work for the Palestinian cause, so that their voice is heard in the United Nations?

Baroud: In recent years, I think the work of civil society has advanced very significantly, from ordinary people getting together and trying to do the best they can, to actually reaching out to the various legal bodies…and getting other governments involved, for example I know of Turkey and Iran among others.

This is how we can cross this boundary that separated us from the world and the work of other active societies out there. I think it is very important that we do so.

There is a lot of interest out there and there are a lot of sympathetic governments out there, whether in the Middle East or South America, and others who are in fact playing the role of the political body which is capable of taking the issue to the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, and in fact try to translate this solidarity and the support that the Palestinians have in the civil society into political and legal action.

This is happening, I know. We know of the governments who are ready to do this, Turkey, Iran and others, but also in South America, there is so much solidarity with the Palestinians, whether in Bolivia, Venezuela and others. And they are all ready to play that role. It is so very important that we reach to these governments and allow them to play that role; otherwise the civil society will continue to build solidarity but fail to translate that into any meaningful and political work.

Press TV: Thank you and just one more question. Recently, Ofcom, the British media regulator, rapped Press TV for breaching impartiality rules over an episode of the "Remember Palestine" program, in which Ms. Lauren Booth and her guests discussed the flotilla attack. Do you think it is right to refer to the deadly incident as an Israeli interception instead of an attack? Are "massacre" and "barbarous attack" overstating it? Isn't this a new form of censorship?

Baroud: It is not a new form of censorship. It is the same form of censorship that has been taking place for many years. When the terminology does not suit the taste of the expectation of those in power, it becomes the issue of journalistic integrity and they make a big deal out of it.

But in reality, I am in Washington right now and whenever you turn the TV on, regardless of which TV channel, CNBC, FOX, CNN, the propaganda machine is working day and night.

And there are so little protests out there over the kind of terminology they use and the sort of assumptions that they make and the kinds of terms of reference that they are constantly finding.

But when it comes to Press TV, because of very clear political affiliations they worry about, they try to censor Press TV and they attack Press TV from left and right and these attacks are not going to cease.

I think Lauren Booth is doing a wonderful job and I have been interviewed on her program, and I think it is very morally focused and very morally clear, and that we need to see more of this as opposed to actually try to censor such important programs.

Press TV And the Program's name is “Remember Palestine,” so could one argue that it is not actually biased and is clearly stating what kind of views it is investigating.

Baroud: Of course. In television there so many programs out there that speak in solidarity and in support of various causes and nations. Who are we to come and say to Lauren Booth that you should not have a program that is in solidarity with the Palestinian civilians and try to empower them morally and politically or otherwise? I think it is very hypocritical and very much self-serving. I do not think that we should be in anyway careful and self-censoring so that we do not become victims of such an attack in the future.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Israel: How to kill three birds with one stone

Posted on August 14, 2010 by rehmat1

The latest hasbara scoop from Israeli daily, The Jerusalem Post, which quoted Italian daily Corriere della Sera, having ties with Italian Freemason lodge – saying that both Istanbul and Tehran are arming Lebanese Islamic Resistance group Hizbullah. And living in a civilized western society, we all know that it’s okey to donate billions of dollars’ worth world’s most deadly arms to anti-Muslim and anti-Christian Zionist regime on annual basis – but to arm some anti-Zionist resistance group with guns and rockets – is a shear case of ‘anti-Semitism’.

Hizbullah is declared as ‘a terrorist organization’ by only three countries – Israel, the US and Canada. Hizbullah is also the only Arab organization which has defeated world’s fourth powerful Israeli army without a single tank or F16 or helicpter.

The ‘smoking gun’ behind this Israeli hasbara allegation happens to be the meeting between Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Taeb to discuss relations between the two Muslim countries. As we know that when two Wall Street Shylocks meet, they always talk about how to get governmet bailout – therefore, it’s natural that when two Islamist meet they must be discussing their common Zionist enemy.

Since Israel has already lost its strategic ally in the Muslim world and Hizbullah has become a big thorn in Israel’s military supramacy plus Ahmadinejad is bent on destroying Israel’s nuclear edge – it makes sense that all three of them pose great threat to Israel’s security which in words is a threat to Israel’s guardian angle – the US.

Some “Zionist expert” on Iran’s economy, Hossein Askari, told the powerful Jewish think tank, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), that although, the USraeli sanctions has “weakened but resourceful Iran” – the people would not rise against the present regime because the socialist economy can stand up to such sanctions. According to the expert it the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps which is suffering the most as “it has not been able to, for over thirty years, import the most sophisticated equipment – as Israel, Saudi Arabia and South Korea had”. Now, who the hell is going to educate this “expert” that with all these “sophisticated arms”, why the 30,000 Israeli army could not defeat less than 2,000 Hizbullah fighters armed with guns and rockets?

Ex-Israeli Jew writer, Israel Shamir, has written a brilliant article under the title Fear Not, saying:
So many people have sent and forwarded so many warnings of the forthcoming US-Israeli attack on Iran that it is hard to ignore them. A piece written by a few ex-spooks warning of a new round of war is one of these messages. In our view, spooks, ex or not, are not the most reliable people, and the CIA is not the best reference. However, this item fits with the dire predictions of Fidel Castro. It fits with the recent heating up of the Gaza and Lebanon borders. It fits with the relocation of some American warships and accompanying Israeli U-boats to the shores of Iran. Rumours of Israeli advance forces being placed in Azerbaijan and even Saudi Arabia are used as supportive evidence. The Jewish state certainly wants to break Iran, just as Iraq was broken.

I am amazed by the strong nerves of President Ahmadinejad: a weaker person on his place might flinch and pre-empt the imminent attack. He does not – apparently he thinks that the jaw-jaw is not likely to become war-war. This is also the view of the well-informed Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram: The current escalation of US and Israeli sabre-rattling against Iran is probably no more than that, writes Amani Maged.

Many observers have correctly remarked that an attack on Iran is likely to become a full-fledged disaster for all parties involved, or even lead to nuclear world war. One does not feel that either Obama or Netanyahu has the guts to step recklessly into the abyss.

In Israel there is a hidden fear that should Israel attack Iran, the US president will not rush in to save it and defend it. Obama certainly did not promise he would; and he has no knee-jerk instinct to defend Tel Aviv come what may.

Israelis are notorious for their “kiss and tell” indiscretion (“larutz lesaper lehevre”, in Hebrew). A confidante of Netanyahu, Ari Shavit, has told us that “the Israeli leader applied hidden pressure to the American leader,” which made him fall on his knees and beg for mercy. The name of the “hidden pressure” is a Jewish billionaire from Chicago Lester Crown, who “made Obama” and supposedly retains full control over his creature, or alternatively, another Jewish Chicagoan Marty Nesbitt. However, even if the US President was forced by his Jewish benefactors to do a volte-face, he certainly bore a grudge for this humiliating turn.

The most likely interpretation for the sabre-rattling is that Israelis plan yet another invasion of Lebanon, while hoping that Iran will be scared into immobility by the threat of an all-out war. Like all previous invasions of Lebanon, that would be a great crime and a huge mistake, but hardly an apocalyptic event.

Indeed for all appearances it is a re-run of 2006, when the predictions of American attack on Iran were also running high, but eventually Bush has got cold feet and the Israeli army was roundly defeated in the mountain valleys of South Lebanon.

In the name of profanity they go to fight the pious puritans of Persia and the warrior monks of Lebanon. The Masters could overlook Iranian nuclear reactors, it is their belief in God they can’t tolerate.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Israeli Officials Are Terrorists

Israeli Officials Are Terrorists

Chris Hedges
A sister taking farewell with her baby brother,
murdered by Israeli officials. (The WE!)

Those who send tanks and fighter jets to bomb the concrete hovels in Gaza with families crouching, helpless, inside -- they are the terrorists.

When I lived in Jerusalem I had a friend who confided in me that as a college student in the United States she attended events like these, wrote up reports and submitted them to the Israel consulate for money. It would be naive to assume this Israeli practice has ended. So, I want first tonight to address that person, or those persons, who may have come to this event for the purpose of reporting on it to the Israeli government.

I would like to remind them that it is they who hide in darkness. It is we who stand in the light. It is they who deceive. It is we who openly proclaim our compassion and demand justice for those who suffer in Gaza. We are not afraid to name our names. We are not afraid to name our beliefs. And we know something you perhaps sense with a kind of dread. As Martin Luther King said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and that arc is descending with a righteous fury that is thundering down upon the Israeli government.

You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you. We will keep working and praying, keep protesting and denouncing, keep pushing up against your navy and your army, with nothing but our bodies, until we prove that the force of morality and justice is greater than hate and violence. And then, when there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive ... you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children even if you did not find it in your heart to bless the children of those you occupied. And maybe it is this forgiveness, maybe it is the final, insurmountable power of love, which unsettles you the most.

And so tonight, a night when some seek to name names and others seek to hide names, let me do some naming. Let me call things by their proper names. Let me cut through the jargon, the euphemisms we use to mask human suffering and war crimes. “Closures” mean heavily armed soldiers who ring Palestinian ghettos, deny those trapped inside food or basic amenities—including toys, razors, chocolate, fishing rods and musical instruments—and carry out a brutal policy of collective punishment, which is a crime under international law. “Disputed land” means land stolen from the Palestinians. “Clashes” mean, almost always, the killing or wounding of unarmed Palestinians, including children. “Jewish neighborhoods in the West Bank” mean fortress-like compounds that serve as military outposts in the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. “Targeted assassinations” mean extrajudicial murder. “Air strikes on militant bomb-making posts” mean the dropping of huge iron fragmentation bombs from fighter jets on densely crowded neighborhoods that always leaves scores of dead and wounded, whose only contact with a bomb was the one manufactured in the United States and given to the Israeli Air Force as part of our complicity in the occupation.
“The peace process” means the cynical, one-way route to the crushing of the Palestinians as a people.
These are some names. There are others. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish in the late afternoon of Jan. 16, 2009, had a pair of Israeli tank shells rip through a bedroom in his Gaza apartment, killing three of his daughters—Bessan, Mayar and Aya—along with a niece, Noor.

“I have the right to feel angry,” says Abuelaish. “But I ask, ‘Is this the right way?’ So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate.”
“Whom to hate?” asks the 55-year-old gynecologist, who was born a Palestinian refugee and raised in poverty. “My Israeli friends? My Israeli colleagues? The Israeli babies I have delivered?”
The Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali wrote this in his poem “Revenge”:

At times ... I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
a narrow country.

And if he killed me,
I’d rest at last,
and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!


But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who’d put
his right hand over
the heart’s place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they’d set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.


Likewise ... I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.

Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn’t bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.

Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbors he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school …
asking about him
and sending him regards.


But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbors or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I’d add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.

Instead I’d be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge.

And if these words are what it means to be a Muslim, and I believe it does, name me too a Muslim, a follower of the prophet, peace be upon him.

The boat to Gaza will be named “The Audacity of Hope.” But these are not Barack Obama’s words. These are the words of my friend the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. They are borrowed words. And Jerry Wright is not afraid to speak the truth, not afraid to tell us to stop confusing God with America. “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands [killed] in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

Or the words of Edward Said:

edward saidNothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship.

For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits. Personally I have encountered them in one of the toughest of all contemporary issues, Palestine, where fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.

And some of the last words of Rachel Corrie to her parents:

I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore.

I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment.
I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: “This is the wide world and I’m coming to it.” I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside. When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.

And if this is what it means to be a Christian, and I believe it does, to speak in the voice of Jeremiah Wright, Edward Said or Rachel Corrie, to remember and take upon us the pain and injustice of others, then name me a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.

And what of the long line of Jewish prophets that run from Jeremiah, Isaiah and Amos to Hannah Arendt, who reminded the world when the state of Israel was founded that the injustice meted out to the Jews could not be rectified by an injustice meted out to the Palestinians, what of our own prophets, Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein, outcasts like all prophets, what of Uri Avnery or the Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, who writes in his poem “Rypin,” the Polish town his father escaped from during the Holocaust, these words:

These creatures in helmets and khakis,
I say to myself, aren’t Jews,

In the truest sense of the word. A Jew
Doesn’t dress himself up with weapons like jewelry,
Doesn’t believe in the barrel of a gun aimed at a target,

But in the thumb of the child who was shot at—
In the house through which he comes and goes,
Not in the charge that blows it apart.

The coarse soul and iron first
He scorns by nature.

He lifts his eyes not to the officer, or the soldier
With his finger on the trigger—but to justice,
And he cries out for compassion.

Therefore, he won’t steal land from its people
And will not starve them in camps.

The voice calling for expulsion
Is heard from the hoarse throat of the oppressor—
A sure sign that the Jew has entered a foreign country
And, like Umberto Saba, gone into hiding within his own city.

Because of voices like these, father
At age sixteen, with your family, you fled Rypin;
Now here Rypin is your son.

And if to be Jew means this, and I believe it does, name me a Jew. Name us all Muslims and Christians and Jews. Name us as human beings who believe that when one of us suffers all of us suffer, that we never have to ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us all, that the tears of the mother in Gaza are our tears, that the wails of the bloodied children in Al Shifa Hospital are the wails of our own children.

'<aLet me close tonight with one last name. Let me name those who send these tanks and fighter jets to bomb the concrete hovels in Gaza with families crouching, helpless, inside, let me name those who deny children the right to a childhood and the sick a right to care, those who torture, those who carry out assassinations in hotel rooms in Dubai and on the streets of Gaza City, those who deny the hungry food, the oppressed justice and foul the truth with official propaganda and state lies.
Let me call them, not by their honorific titles and positions of power, but by the name they have earned for themselves by draining the blood of the innocent into the sands of Gaza.

Let me name them for who they are: terrorists.
Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute.

He writes a regular column for TruthDig every Monday.

His latest book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Once again, is the West's Frankenstein out of control?

Once again, is the West's Frankenstein out of control?
(Wednesday, July 28, 2010)

"While Israel demolishes Palestinian homes and expropriates the properties of absent Palestinians by forcibly expelling them from their homes, it demands that Arab countries return the possessions of the Jews who used to live in them. It expels African children from Israel so that it remains ‘Jewish and white’.

 Reading Mya Guarnieri’s article “children are just Israel’s latest victims” in The Guardian (July 20, 2010) makes you disgusted at a policy that does not give value to any human being or any human relationship. What makes you angry is that such a policy receives support and funding from most western countries which never tire of talking about human rights and freedom."

When international condemnation intensified in relation to the crime committed by Israel against the aid flotilla unarmed activists, who were trying to bring food and medicine to the civilians besieged in Gaza, the Netanyahu government started to use expressions like ‘intentions to ease the blockade’. But here is Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who visited Gaza last week, saying that she saw no sign of easing the blockade and declaring, on behalf of the EU that keeping the blockade on one and a half million Palestinian civilians is “unacceptable”.
But such statements remain statements if not translated into an action plan or sanctions to force Netanyahu’s extremist government to lift the blockade. And here is Israel, months after the publication of the Goldstone report and the UN request that Israel respond to the report, “pledging” to reduce civilian casualties and limit the use of “phosphorous bombs”. In other words, Israel confirms that it will continue to target Palestinian civilians and use internationally banned weapons against them.

On the same day, Israel demolished Palestinian houses and shops and expelled hundreds of Palestinians from pre-1948 Palestinian territories to the West Bank in implementation of its declared racist ‘transfer’ policy. It will also build a separation barrier with Egypt next week. At the same time, the Israeli defence minister will visit Washington soon to discuss bilateral cooperation and conditions for resuming negotiations.

In other words, Ehud Barak, indicted with war crimes against civilians in South Lebanon and Gaza, will ask the American administration for more financial, military, political and diplomatic support in order to continue the policies of blockade, demolition, oppression, starvation and transfer against Palestinian civilians. This will of course be given coverage by the pro-Israeli media in order to maintain Israel’s image as “an oasis of freedom in the Middle East”, in Joe Biden’ words.
For western governments and media to accept a brutal blockade to be imposed on one and a half Palestinians is shocking, particularly that they claim to defend ‘human rights’ and support the causes of justice, freedom and democracy. It is also shocking that the United Nations calls on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian houses, while it has, for years, carried out a policy of judaizing Jerusalem and demolished some of the most beautiful architectural monuments in the neighbourhoods of Jarrah and Silwan without the UN taking any measure against Israel as it has done with other countries.

This contradiction and use of double standards exposes the false claims of western democracies that they support human rights and believe in the rule of law; for every day we see Palestinians being arrested for demonstrating peacefully against the demolition of their houses; and we see them turned into refugees. Accepting words like ‘easing’ and ‘reducing’ means not respecting Palestinians’ life and not equating their suffering and pain with the suffering and pain of western people. Otherwise, why had all human-rights organizations, the United Nations, the United States and Europe failed to impose sanctions against Israel because of all these crimes committed against unarmed Palestinian, while they do so against countries for mere suspicion that they have intentions to develop weapons?

The credibility of the White House in supporting peace in the Middle East is completely shattered when an official in this house, which has a long history of supporting dictatorships, expresses pride that the United States provides Israel with $ 4 billion to equip it with the most devastating weapons, including nuclear weapons, while it spends $ 3 billion on more than seventy other countries.

There is no need to interpret intentions here, because Israel has demonstrated for the past sixty years that it uses these American weapons to eliminate the Palestinian people, suppress their right to freedom, steal their land and water and destroy their future. So, why arming Israel is a source of pride, while other countries’ attempt to get weapons to defend themselves justifies accusing them with terrorism? Why are not the measures and standards applied against others, who have not committed a crime, be applied against Israel?

This is the question raised by Seth Freedman in The Guardian (July 15, 2010) in an article entitled “Force Israel’s hand on Palestinian home demolition”. The writer stresses that “Israel's resumption of demolition in East Jerusalem requires firm intervention to prevent a total breakdown in talks”, and I say to prevent more crimes against innocent people. The writer goes on to say “Unfortunately, it is not hard to see where their arrogance stems from: for years, no American or European leader has dared match their angry words with concrete actions, such as sanctions against Israel”. He adds: “Judaising" East Jerusalem is a stated policy of numerous settler groups and their financial and political backers, and every home demolition and family eviction expedites the process of ethnic cleansing already embarked upon”.

While Israel demolishes Palestinian homes and expropriates the properties of absent Palestinians by forcibly expelling them from their homes, it demands that Arab countries return the possessions of the Jews who used to live in them. It expels African children from Israel so that it remains ‘Jewish and white’. Reading Mya Guarnieri’s article “children are just Israel’s latest victims” in The Guardian (July 20, 2010) makes you disgusted at a policy that does not give value to any human being or any human relationship. What makes you angry is that such a policy receives support and funding from most western countries which never tire of talking about human rights and freedom.

I once wrote that Israel is the 20th-century Frankenstein invented by the west. Has this Frankenstein gone beyond the control of its western creators? Or, is there still no sufficient conviction of its danger to others, to itself, and ultimately to the entire world?

by courtesy & © 2010 Bouthaina Shaaban

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian